Summary: Middle East Quartet meets in Washington (1 February 2007: Brussels)
German Federal Minister Steinmeier leaves today for Washington for a meeting of the so-called Middle East Quartet (United Nations, European Union, USA and Russia) there on Friday. As President of the Council, Mr Steinmeier is representing the European Union along with Javier Solana and Benita Ferrero-Waldner. Condoleezza Rice, Sergei Lavrov and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will also be participating.
The Quartet is meeting at Foreign Minister level for the first time since 20 September 2006. Mr Steinmeier and Ms Rice announced the meeting in Berlin on 18 January, reiterating their desire to revive the Quartet. On that occasion the German Foreign Minister summarized the aims of the meeting thus: "It is a question of what political prospects we can offer the people in the region."